How to Insult Your Fellow Labour Party Members: A Little Red Glossary

Are you a 'Trot', a 'Red Tory', a 'Blairite' or a 'Splitist'? Let us help you work it out.

by Gavin Haynes
11 August 2016, 11:05pm

Photo by Christopher Bethell

Press release incoming: Militant Tendency have finally re-formed! According to no less an authority than Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson, the group behind 80s classics like "Workers Control The Means Of Production", "From Each According To His Means (To Each According To His Needs)", and "Comrades!" are trying to get back into the Labour Party they were once kicked out of.

In the 80s, the Militants were the thorn in Neil Kinnock's side: hardcore Marxists who took over local Labour Party chapters as a prelude to hollowing out the party and replacing it with their own creamy revolutionary filling. In 1997, they changed their name to the Socialist Party (a bit like when Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship), and they've basically disappeared until now.

But Watson, in a four-page memo to his boss Jeremy (this is the extent of the communication breakdown right now), laid out specific allegations about the infiltration of Corbyn's Momentum Praetorian Guards by ex-Militant members - who are banned for life from anything Labour-related.

You know politics is getting rough when the jargon starts getting bloated. Watson's memo has brought with it a whole bag of dusty terminology about 'entryism' and Trotskyism.

So to help us all navigate the increasingly Double Dutch Labour infighting, we've taken the opportunity to compile a Little Red Glossary to all the terms you need to know.


A term referring to anyone to the left of Tony Blair. Trotskyites are known for their adherence to the philosophy of Leon Trotsky, an old dead Russian guy who has become father to a movement because some people apparently still feel that the term 'Stalinist' has baggage. Trotsky believed in international revolution, whereas Stalin believed that socialism could be built in one country - still a very important debate for the swing voters of Nuneaton. Similarly, Stalin believed in killing absolute craploads of people, whereas Trotsky only believed in killing a really high number of people, meaning he's ideologically much less problematic.


A term referring to anyone to the right of Leon Trotsky. For example: "Owen Smith believes in companies existing - don't let the Blairites win." Comes from Tony Blair, a PM who crushed the Labour Party by putting it into power for 13 years. The Party has never truly forgiven him for attracting all those votes, and in fact, much of the election of Jeremy Corbyn can be read as an attempt to squeeze all the votes out of his former party and then present Blair with the hollow husk while laughing mockingly.


A Blairite on steroids, Human Growth Hormone and EPO. As we all know, a Tory is a sort of lizard creature with flared nostrils and yellow gills that allow them to breathe lava, who assumes human shape and then bangs on about personal responsibility and freedom of choice in order to suck the bones out of babies. The double-trickery of a Red Tory then assuming a role within the Labour Party is therefore utterly chilling. Red Tories are everywhere - that is their key distinguishing characteristic. A Red Tory, he will often say something like "Well, Jeremy's a nice guy, but I wonder if he is the most effective leader," or "I'm a great believer in social justice but how are we going to take swing seats like Nuneaton if we don't have a robust defence policy?". But an easier way to spot them is simply by noticing any divergent opinions from your own - differing is a classic Red Tory tactic.

WATCH: Jeremy Corbyn: The Outsider


One who seeks to gain entry into the Labour Party in order to destroy the Labour Party.


Sinister group who infiltrated the Labour Party in the 1990s in order to destroy it. Eccentric dogmatists known for their love of gazpacho, they fomented broad-brush third-way welfare capitalism and improved public service investment from within.


What the hard left call their opponents. Implication being that there's something degenerate about the adherents of Soft Left-ism, like the deep obscenity of a flaccid penis at an orgy, the idea is that the soft left don't have the gumption to make a difference - they're degenerate, coddled, dangerous in the very triviality of their belief systems.


What the soft left call their opponents, an attempt to make the term sound like 'far right', with its obvious connotations of Anders Brevik grinning as he steps onto a child-filled island.


People who view the next step for the Labour Party as the end of the Labour Party and the birth of two or more parties in its ashes. Can be enjoyed equally by either side of the debate - the Split-ists are either the hard left who are trying to split the party. John McDonnell has been accused of Splitism, while the idea that Owen Smith may drag a rump of anti-Corbyn MPs out of the party if he loses has also been tagged as Splitism. Therefore, Splitism seems to be both the single unifying strand of Labour politics right now, and also the best basis for an entirely new party.


The followers of Owen Smith, a prophet of considerable intellectual gifts, who has ignited the faithful with his radical philosophy of Not Being Jeremy Corbyn-ism. Key tenets: Name's not Jeremy Corbyn. No beard. Wears suits. Eats meat. Not the brother of Piers Corbyn.


Followers of notorious banger-on Owen Jones who retweet his latest articles because it's easier than having an opinion. Core beliefs: Jeremy Corbyn is good but also not good enough but let's go with it until we don't have to.


Collective noun for the faction who believe that Labour's true salvation can only come from Andy Burnham. Secretary-General: Andy Burnham. Chief Operating Officer: Andy Burnham. Key Grip: Andy Burnham. Dolly Grip: Andy Burnham.


Apologism is the great hidden philosophy of our time. There are Tory apologists. Corbyn apologists. Splitist apologists. Yet curiously despite all the apologism, no one in the Labour Party seems to have apologised for anything very much lately. Not even Ken Livingstone.


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